Virginia Voter Registration and Turnout


The right to vote is one of the fundamental rights of citizens in a democratic society. Identify voter requirements for residents of Virginia, discuss procedures to register to vote and changes or trends in voter participation, and analyze statistical data to determine demographic information on voters in the Commonwealth.


Distribute copies of the Virginia Voter Registration Application Form; Table 400. Voting-Age Population, Percent Reporting Registered, and Voted; and Table 403. Resident Population of Voting Age and Percent Casting Votes. Working in groups of three or four, students will analyze the primary sources using Handout #1: Primary Source Analysis Questions.

Group Discussion

Write three columns on the board: Notice, Questions and Background. Using Handout #1: Primary Source Analysis Questions responses, fill-in the columns as a class.

Background Information

Importance of Voting

The right to vote is one of the fundamental rights of citizens in a democratic society. Without it, citizens would not be able to choose the people who will run their government. Voting is a major responsibility of citizenship. Those who do not vote are failing to carry out a civic responsibility. They are also handing over their share of political power to voters whose views they may oppose.

Requirements for Voter Registration

To be eligible to register to vote in Virginia a person must:

  • be a resident of Virginia;
  • be a U. S. Citizen;
  • be 18 years old on or before election day;
  • not claim the right to vote in any other State;
  • not currently be declared mentally incompetent by a court of law;
  • and if convicted of a felony, have had your right to vote restored
  1. How do potential voters view these documents?
  2. What problems could the registration form cause potential voters?
  3. How could organizations and communities combat the problem of low voter turnout?